Esoterica Tobacciana Margate

A classic English mixture done in the "old style" of many of the fine tobaccos that have now disappeared from the market place. Choice Orientals, matured Virginias, and generous quantities of premium Cyprian latakia keynote this rich, full bodied blend. A well balanced, robust and eminently satisfying smoke.


Brand Esoterica Tobacciana
Blended By J.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce bag
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Medium to Full
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.31 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 01, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
The Virginias are grassy, lightly earthy and woody in a supporting role. Much of the sweetness is citrus, but there is a little dark fruit. The Orientals lead the pack as the Cyprian Latakia offers strong support. The Latakia is lightly sweet, as well as woodsy, earthy, musty and very smoky. The Orientals provide some spice, floralness, earth, wood, smoke, leather, dry sourness, and a little buttery sweetness. There's a bit of fragrant incense which comes from the Orientals and Latakia, and a light sweet topping. The strength is medium, while the taste just crosses over that line by a step. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. Won't bite, and has no harsh or dull moments. It's a little moist, but being a shag cut, that's not a bad thing as it will slow down the moderate burn rate. Burns very cool. Has a very rich, consistent, mildly complex sweet and savor flavor from start to finish. Leaves just a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Needs a few relights if not dried. The after taste is pleasant, except for a slight wine note that I find a little distracting. People around you will think you started a campfire in your den. Not an all day smoke.

49 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Mottled in color, this is almost a shag cut of very thin ribbons. In fact, I'm not sure I know where that line is drawn, but I would still call this a ribbon. Classic English blend tin nose. I've had this in my cellar for almost three years but for some reason never felt like opening it until now.

Classic English blend flavor as well. The latakia is front and center but not overpowering. I distinguish English blends from Balkan blends by the power and flavor of the orientals used, and this one is classic English, as the orientals are very subservient to the latakia and somewhat to the Virginias. The latakia is powerful and sweet, with all the campfire essences noted. The Virginias are very lightly tangy with the barest hint of citrus. However, they aren't just a base for the latakia and orientals - they have quite the personality. The orientals are smooth and mellow with a hint of sour and spice. Two things of personal note on this blend - first, it grew on me. Two or three bowls of this does not tell the story - it requires a full tin to take this one's measure. It's not just a lat bomb. Second, the name "Esoterica" means to a lot of smokers something very special. To me, it means Stonehaven and a host of fairly ordinary blends. Nothing wrong with this one - in fact, if you enjoy a lat blend on the heavier side, you could do a lot worse than this one. My point is you could also do a lot better IMHO.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I typically don't like full latakia blends, but didn't mind this one at all. The blender boldly states that the blend is indeed a full english mixture. It smokes very cool and the orientals used are much to my liking. While the lat is strong, I don't find it overpowering at all. I was surprised to discover there was no Va in this blend.

This is definitely a once in a while treat. Successive bowls will not be a joy. My two ounces lasted better than a year. It shines in Cold weather in a contemplative setting. I prefer it in my briar bent acorn Sav DC, but also enjoyed it in my meer.

I will likely buy more because the flavor, to me, is unique enough that I think it will be good to have on hand. The hard part, like all germain blends, is waiting for the stars to align where you can actually find it.

12/6/2021 update

I was puffing on this and reading my reviews and some of the other reviews. One thing I did notice is that someone has changed the contents above to now include Virginia. When I reviewed this 8 years ago, they simply listed the contents as Latakia and Oriental. I was surprised at the time that Virginia was lacking as there is present in this blend a light sweetness that I have never encountered from Latakia or any oriental leaf.

With that said, I highly doubt the contents above either now or before were written by someone in Germain. Germain is very secretive about everything they do, so this information is all speculation anyway as the most you will get from the blender is the description which says nothing about Virginia leaf. In any case, it makes sense that this does include Virginia. Carry on. 🙂
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I am of the opinion that J.F. Germain makes their best blends under their Esoterica label. Margate is another winner and it is no surprise that it is sometimes difficult to obtain. The tin scent offers a musty, smoky smell that I find very inviting. Like many of the Germain blends, the cut of the tobacco is very thin. It is important to “pack with care” to get the most out of Margate. There is a generous helping of Latakia in Margate, but for me, the Orientals are the star of the show. I have smoked many tins of Margate, and it is wonderful just out of a fresh tin as well as a tin with several years of age on it. The Oriental tobacco(s) in Margate do offer a bit of sweetness, but it is mainly with age and more subtle than one would find in Virginias. Margate has a flavor profile that is somewhat unique among English blends. Some have referred to it as having incense like flavor and I would have to agree as I think it is the best adjective to describe Margate's taste. It certainly has its own niche in a world filled with countless English blends. I can't quite go to four stars with Margate only because it doesn't quite hold my interest as long as some other English blends and it seems to be in and out of my regular rotation. By the same token, it always seems to find its way back. LOL!
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Recently I purchased a small hoard of 5 to 20 year old tins of various pipe blends. As per the statement of the seller, a small number of them were unsealed and my tin of Margate was one of them. Dated 2004, it did not appear sealed and I went straight to opening it. Surprise, as the mixture was found smokeable with some moisture intact. It had been a long time since I had smoked Margate and, as I puffed, I dredged up my memories of it from twenty-five years ago. When Esoterica blends hit the local market, we all smoked the majority of them and a ranking of their English blends formed in my mind: Penzance first, Pembroke second and Margate a distant third. Why? I just didn't feel it was distinctive enough to rank with the other two and was lukewarm in competition with the likes of Dunhill 965. Now, to the present tense. Thirteen years of aging in someone's basement had melded all components into a smooth, but narrow ranged smoke that was neither outstanding nor mediocre. The tin appearance had changed to a very darkish hue of some umber brown and some nearly black particles. The smoking experience was, likewise, very smooth and confined to a narrower range that lodged it right smack at the top of the bell-shaped curve of medium English blends. This is my main bone of contention with this blend, in that, it lacks competitiveness with other English mixtures I have available today and had available in the past. I don't have anything bad to say about Margate but, on the converse, there is a limit on what I can say about what is good about it-three stars.
Pipe Used: Ashton and Roush Lovats
PurchasedFrom: another pipe smoker
Age When Smoked: 13 years old
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 21, 2013 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Margate is another high-quality blend from ET. Tin note and light are well-tempered Latakia, and the light and the initial aroma and taste include the incense that Margate shares with ET's And So To Bed. Nice, and "sophisticated", indeed, but not my first choice for an everyday smoke. Like some other ET blends, the (shag in this case) tobacco loads, lights and smokes well when still "damp", needing only tapping (as opposed to poking or tamping) to keep it lit. The Oriental ("Turkish") tobaccos come up as the shag is (quickly) smoked down, and the blue-gray smoke and the taste take on a sharper, sourer note that I quite like. IMO, the best of this blend is the last of it. While I don't especially care for the immediate "smoky" aftertaste, this soon evens out to and lingers as the best of the final smoking notes.

All in all, an "impressive", fairly satisfying, Lat-forward blend that I hesitate to call a true English. Today I smoked Margate after a bowl of Orcilla Mixture (and after clearing my palate), and IMO Margate is "less" in the way of tobacco, per se, while being "more" in the way of component parts and "effects".
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 10, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Margate is a delightful English/Balkan blend in the same class as Squadron Leader and Artisan's Blend, what Nojoqui calls "High English", which is a great appellation for these kinds of blends, which I liken to single-malt scotches, each a quality blend with its own distinctive signature.

It's the most finely cut ribbon I've yet seen, and it burns so easily that it can get hot if you puff hard, which you should definitely not do with this little beauty or you'll miss all its unique nuances, which gets more subtle and complex as you get down to the bottom, so sip it slow and you'll be amply rewarded.

But though I very much like this delectable, dignified blend I prefer it's sister, that painted hussy Pembroke.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Like Penzance, this is good tobacco. Due to the difficulty in getting these blends, I think the mythology built around them is overrated and not deserved. There are many other blends as good or better, and that are in ample supply.
Pipe Used: Peterson Kinsale XL17
PurchasedFrom: Gifted
Age When Smoked: 3 years
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 19, 2004 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong
Probably my favorite of the Esoterica latakia mixtures (or the one I tolerate most): a classic English blend, with the typical mustiness and rich smell of good aged leaf.

It's dark, bittersweet, rich and spicy, but overall very rounded. Not as punchy as some Dunhills, although it reminds me a bit of the old Nightcap (when it was still a good tobacco), without its extreme strength. After a few days (the tobacco in the tin comes very moist), it becomes more balanced and subdued.

For me, not memorable or anything special compared to the "drier" and cleaner tastes of GLPease mixtures, but a good blend anyway.

If you like this, you might want to try And So to Bed, too.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 07, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable
I am finishing the last of my Margate that I bought in 2011. This is a really excellent tobacco. I have not smoked much of this because I kept buying new blends over the years. It is fairly spicy and smokes well with the ribbon cut but it does not last very long in the pipe. Not sure if I will buy it again but a really good blend to try.
Pipe Used: Savanelli Autograph #4 Free Style
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco, Kearny Mesa, CA
Age When Smoked: 6 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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